Jonathan’s Internet and Digital Media Weekly – 2014-07-14

Private Financing
US

  • Rap Genius raised a $40M Series B led by Dan Gilbert and joined by previous investor Andreessen Horowitz at a valuation under $1 billion. It also changed its name to Genius.com and is launching embeddable annotations so any website can hover over text and see explanations and background info on what that text means. The new funding brings Genius to $56.8M in total, which it plans to spend hiring engineers, designers, and community leaders.
  • FreshTracks Capital, venture capital firm based in Shelburne, Vt., has raised $11.5M for its third venture capital fund. Assembled with the help of 48 limited partners, the firm intends to spread the capital across 10 to 15 companies. Notable past investments include EatingWell Media Group, acquired by Meredith Corporation in 2011. Notable current invesments include Quirky, a product invention platform that has raised about $175M over the last five years, including from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Andreessen Horowitz, and General Electric, among others.
  • Vidyo, Hackensack, N.J.-based videoconferencing company, has raised $20M in Series E funding from earlier investors Menlo Ventures, Rho Ventures, Sevin Rosen Funds, QuestMark Partners, Saints Capital, Four Rivers Group, ORR Ventures, Triangle Peak Partners and Juniper Networks. The company has now raised $139M altogether.
  • Landscape Mobile, San Francisco-based company whose mobile technology enables users to clip, save and retrieve reading materials in one step, has raised $1.85M in seed funding from IDG Capital and individual investors.
  • Erecruit, Boston-based company that makes software designed for larger staffing firms, has raised $25M in funding from North Bridge Venture Partners. It’s the company’s first institutional round of financing.
  • Button, New York-based mobile marketing company, has raised $2.25M in seed funding led by Atlas Venture. Other participants in the funding included by DCM, Greycroft Partners, Mesa+ and VaynerRSE, as well as individual investors.
  • Y Combinator-backed Amplitude, a startup taking on big-name analytics providers like Mixpanel, Kontagent, Localytics and others, has raised $1.975M in seed funding from a number of investors, including SV Angel, Charlie Cheever, Dave Morin, Quest Venture Partners, Data Collective, Merus Capital, BoxGroup, Adam Draper and several more.
  • Bark & Co., the doggie-themed technology company best known for its dog treat-delivering subscription business BarkBox, and more recently, its vet care-on-demand service BarkCare, has just closed on 15M in Series B funding. The company raised $10M in inside round led by previous investor Resolute.vc, along with RRE, BoxGroup, Lerer Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Slow Ventures, Daher Capital, CAA, and Vast Ventures, with the remaining in debt financing from City National Bank. The new round increases Bark & Co.’s valuation by 10-11 times over its previous A round, from April 2013. As of February 2014, the company reported a $25M revenue run rate, and is projecting to grow that 3-4x over by next year, at which point it will consider a further growth round.
  • Dash Hudson, a startup aiming to make twentysomething men a little less clueless about style, is announcing that it raised $400,000 in seed funding. More impressive than the amount of funding was who participated — co-founder and CEO Thomas Rankin said the round was led by Paul Gauthier, Groupon’s CTO from 2010 to 2013, as well as founding CTO at search pioneer Inktomi.
  • Cover, a company that facilitates the process of paying your check at the end of the meal, removing friction and encouraging more restaurants to accept mobile payments, raised a $5.5M Series A round of financing led by Spark Capital. The new round follows $1.5M in seed funding that Cover had raised last spring. Other investors include O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, Lerer Ventures and angels, such as Josh Spear, Dave Eisenberg, Ben Leventhal, Naval Ravikant, Andrew Kortina, James Altucher, Mike Greenfield, John McDonald, Chris Muscarella, Ed Zimmerman and Scott Belsky.
  • Tablo.io, a publishing platform built by 21-year-old Ash Davies, has raised $400,000 from Y Combinator partner Kevin Hale and Paul Reining. The company offers a Wattpad-like self-publishing experience – albeit with a superior design aesthetic – and a friction-free way to publish to Amazon and iBooks from your finished book.
  • Malwarebytes, a San Jose-based anti-malware technology provider, has raised $30M in a first round of funding entirely from Highland Capital Partners. Malwarebytes has developed a behavior-based detection engine for computer threats and currently protects the computers and mobile devices of over 200M clients. Founded in 2008 and bootstrapped prior to this round, Malwarebytes will use the new cash to sustain its rapid growth rate and begin to acquire smaller players in the security software space.
  • Bop.fm has announced a brand new round of $2M in funding, lets music listeners make playlists completely independent of the music services they use. Charles River Ventures led the new round, with additional participation from SV Angel,Y Combinator, FundersClub, Tom Ryan, Rackspace president Lew Moorman, Room77 chief executive Drew Patterson, BillShrink/Truaxis founder and chief executive Schwark Satyavolu, and LeWeb founder Loic Le Meur, among others.
  • WeSpeke, Pittsburgh, Pa.-based online platform for language learning and practice and cultural exchange, has raised $3M in Series B funding from undisclosed investors. The company, cofounded by the director of the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, had previously raised $3.2M over two earlier rounds.
  • Comfy, Austin, Tx.-based company that matches college students with off-campus housing, has raised $600,000 in seed funding led by Dominion Ventures, with participation from Austin Ventures and numerous angel investors.
  • BirdDog, Urbandale, Ia.-based company that provides recruitment and application tracking software for companies in the construction and skilled trade industries, has raised $4M in Series A funding led by Des Moines, Ia.-based venture firm Next Level Ventures. Earlier investor Bridgepoint Investment Partners, also based in Des Moines, also participated in the round.
  • Altierre, San Jose, Ca.-based provider of dynamic pricing technology to retailers, has raised a new round of more than $21M co-led by new investor Stratim Capital and D.E. Shaw. Earlier investors ATA Ventures, DuPont Capital Management, Labrador Ventures and Kinetic Ventures also participated in the round.
  • Healthcare Interactive, an eight-year-old, Glenwood, Md.-based company whose platform collects and manages data, processes benefit plans, and helps it healthcare customer engage with customers online, has raised $8M in Series A funding led by Grotech Ventures and Harbert Venture Partners.
  • Spring, New York-based company that was founded by investor David Tisch and his brother Alan (who is CEO), has raised $7.5M in Series A funding led by Thrive Capital, Groupe Arnault, and Box Group, with a long list of other venture capital firms and individual investors participating. Spring is still operating in stealth mode, but it could be fashion retail play given that its many backers include Uri Minkoff CEO Rebecca Minkoff, Proenza Schouler CEO Shirley Cook, and “Project Runway” producer Desiree Gruber.
  • Secondary investment firm 137 Ventures is announcing that it has raised a $137M new fund. When the firm was founded in 2010, it was pitched as an alternative to selling stock on the secondary markets. Instead, it offered to make loans to founders and early employees, with their stock as collateral.
  • Virtualisation tech outfit mNectar has announced a $7M Series A funding round. The money was invested by New Enterprise Associates. Rick Yang from its Menlo Park office will join mNectar’s board of directors as part of the deal. Breaking the fourth wall The company’s mobile virtualisation and cloud delivery enables customers to try games and apps before they download them.
  • Busbud, Montreal-based company whose app and website help users discover online places where they can book last-minute travel by bus, has raised $9M in new funding led by Revolution Ventures and OMERS Ventures. Previous investors iNovia Capital and Real Ventures also participated in the round, which brings Busbud’s total funding to $10.2M. The Company now has almost 1,500 coach companies providing scheduling information and booking options for more than 10,460 cities in 89 countries. (It also supports 10 languages and 21 currencies.)
  • Social media marketing startup Wayin, whose software gathers social media postings and displays it in real time on its clients’ sites, mobile apps, or, in the case of sports teams, scoreboards, has raised a new $13.1M funding round led by U.S. Venture Partners, with returning backer Silicon Valley law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati throwing in.  Wayin has now received a total of $33.1M in funding. The company says it experienced approximately 300 percent growth in 2013, driven by high-profile clients in the U.S., Asia, and Latin America. Wayin’s clients include The Weather Channel, LG, and MTV Latin America.
  • Duetto, a price optimization SaaS that uses big data to dynamically surge or discount rates for rooms and to help hotels optimize costs, raised $21M led by Accel Partners, with participation from previous investors Battery Ventures, Altimeter Capital, Co-Chairman and CEO of Thayer Lodging Leland Pillsbury, and Salesforce founder and CEO Marc Benioff. Combined with its Series A and seed, the new funding brings Duetto to $33.2M.
  • Money-management service Moven raised $8M at an undisclosed valuation in a round led by SBT Venture Capital, the venture arm of Russia’s national savings bank Sberbank. Virginia-based Route 66 Ventures, South-African Standard Bank, and London-based Anthemis Group also took part in the round of funding. The New-York based startup had already attracted Russian money in a previous round last year, with the Life.SREDA fund investing $2M as the service was still in beta. All told, Moven now boasts $12.41 in financial-backing.
  • NewVoiceMedia, a company that sells cloud-based software for sales, marketing, and service employees in contact centers, has raised $50M in new funding. Technology Crossover Ventures led the round. Bessemer Venture Partners, Highland Capital Partners Europe, Eden Ventures, Notion Capital and Salesforce.com. In the past 18 months, NewVoiceMedia has raised $105M, including the $35M round from September 2013 and the $20M round from Jan 2013.
  • Amino, a TechStars-incubated startup that’s building mobile communities around topics like anime and Doctor Who, is announcing that it has raised $1.65M in seed funding led by Union Square Ventures. Other investors in the seed round include Google Ventures, SV Angel, Box Group, Scott Belsky, Slow Ventures, Paul English (Co-founder of Kayak), Kal Vepuri, Launch Angels and David Chang.
  • Xapo, which is trying to legitimize and popularize bitcoin by offering services to securely store and transact the digital currency, raised an additional $20M in funding, doubling the amount it raised earlier this year. The investment was co-led by Greylock Partners and Index Ventures and includes Emergence Capital Partners, Max Levchin, the co-founder of PayPal, Yuri Milner, the Russian billionaire investor, and Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo. Reid Hoffman, a partner at Greylock, and Mike Volpi, a partner at Index, will join Xapo’s board as observers. The latest investment values Xapo at roughly north of $100M.
  • WordStream, Boston-based search-marketing software company, has raised $9M in Series C funding led by Baird Capital of Chicago, with earlier investor Sigma Partners participating. The company also raised an addition $3M in venture debt from City National Bank. According to Crunchbase, WordStream has raised $28.4M to date.
  • Racemi, Atlanta-based company whose cloud migration software helps automate the process of migrating workloads to public, private and hybrid clouds, has raised $10M in Series C funding led by Milestone Venture Partners. Earlier investors Harbert Venture Partners and Paladin Capital Group also participated in the round. The company has now raised roughly $25M altogether.
  • mBlox, Sunnyvale, Ca.-based mobile marketing company, has just raised $43.5M in new funding, including from Comerica, Horizon Technology Finance, Norwest Venture Partners, Scale Ventures, Avanti, Trident, Stratem and Saints Capital. The company, which has now raised at least $120M over the years, is using the money to rebrand its service by adding many new features.
  • Fuisz Media, Santa Monica, Ca.-based company behind a new commerce-enabled interactive video technology, has raised $2.1M in seed funding led by Metamorphic Ventures and Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Other investors include Science Inc., WGI Group, United Talent Agency, Mesa+, and numerous individual investors.
  • Curse, Huntsville, Al.-based gaming services company that offers in-game voice communications platforms, among other things, has raised $10M in Series B financing led by new investor GGV Capital. The company says it has now raised $22M to date, including from Ventech, SoftTech VC, and IDInvest Parters.
  • Secure BTC vault Xapo has announced it’s raised $20M from Greylock Partners and Index Ventures, bringing its total investment capital to $40M. Other investors include Emergence Capital Partners, Max Levchin, Yuri Milner, and Jerry Yang.
  • Spark Labs, the same folks that made this open-source Nest-like thermostat, has raised $4.9M in Series A funding led by Lion Wells Capital, and with participation from O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures, SOSventures, and Collaborative Fund, as well as a host of angel investors.
  • Cloudian, a California-based company with a major presence in Japan, announced a US$24M financing round. The firm received funds from existing investors like Intel Capital as well as newcomers Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) and Fidelity Growth Partners Japan. The funding is earmarked for powering Cloudian’s global sales and marketing. Japan sales are already very healthy – seven of the 16 top clients listed on the company’s website are Japanese corporations. Cloudian calls its service “hybrid” because it facilitates the creation of private corporate clouds via third-party providers. The company often touts its compliance with Amazon Web Services’ Simple Storage System (Amazon S3). That compatibility means a private corporation can use Amazon S3 for general storage while preserving sensitive data on its own systems.
  • RetailNext, a company that specializes in providing data analysis tools to real-world retailers, has raised a $30M late-stage round of investment. This is the company’s fourth round of funding, bringing its total capital raised to $59.4M. Strategic (corporate) investors Qualcomm, Tyco, and American Express contributed to the round, as well as Activant Capital Group. Current investors August Capital, StarVest Partners, and Commerce Ventures also contributed. RetailNext provides e-commerce style metrics for brick-and-mortar stores using sensors that track the physical activity of actual human shoppers. It counts 140 companies in 40 different countries as its customers, and says it is adding 400 to 1,000 new stores to its analysis every month. So far it has installed 65,000 sensors around the world, which it claims enable it to track over 1 billion human shoppers every year.
  • OpenDoor, a company which allows buying homes as simple as clicking a few buttons, closed $9.95M led by Khosla Ventures. Other investors in this round include Paypal co-founder Max Levchin, Former YouTube and Facebook CFO Gideon Yu, Eventbrite co-founder Kevin Hartz, Y Combinator’s Sam Altman, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, Yammer co-founder David Sacks, Angelist’s Naval Ravikant, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, Box CEO Aaron Levie, Initialized Capital’s Harjeet Taggar, Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian, Former Twitter vice president Elad Gil, Blippy co-founder David King, Flixster co-founder Joe Greenstein, Angel investor Mike Greenfield, Quora co-founder Charlie Cheever, Path’s Dave Morin, Facebook vice president Dan Rose, Trevor Traina, Resolute Ventures’ Mike Hirshland, Caffeinated Capital’s Ray Tonsing, Felicis’ Aydin Senkut, True Ventures’ Om Malik, Thrive Capital’s Josh Kushner, Crunchfund’s Michael Arrington and SV Angel.
  • Online storage startup Box just raised $150M from private-equity firm TPG. The investment firm was reportedly in talks with Box in June about potential funding. TPG’s growth-equity fund TPG Growth made the investment and will likely take a seat on Box’s board. During its last funding round in November, Box netted $100M at a $2 billion valuation. The company had previously raised $414.1M, making its total funding in excess of $550M.
  • 3D camera marker Matterport wants to give customers the tools they need to make photo-realistic models of real-world spaces. And to do so, the company has raised a new, $16M round of financing. The funding was led by DCM, with AME Cloud Ventures also participating.
  • College enrollment and financial aid management tool Regent Education has raised $9M in its latest round of funding to help colleges handle student enrollment and process the many ways they pay for school. The funding includes a $4M raise in equity financing, with New Markets Venture Partners leading the round. New Markets has invested in a number of education tech startups, like Calvert Education Systems, which provides digital lessons for homeschooled kids, and news service Mashable. Ares Capital provided $5M of debt financing. The company will use the funds to further develop its array of products for administrative tasks.
  • Adtile, a startup that says it’s bringing an “app store”-style approach to mobile ads, is announcing that it has raised $4.5M in Series A funding. The funding follows the $2.7M that Adtile raised last year under its old name, TenFarms. The company is not disclosing the investors.
  • Robin, Boston-based company which provides a “software layer for office buildings”, has raised a $1.4M seed round from Atlas Venture, Deep Fork Capital, Boldstart Ventures and Space Pirates. The funding will allow Robin to continue product development, grow the number of its Robin-powered offices, and do a small amount of hiring. Designed for use in the workplace, Robin uses iBeacon and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) devices to detect nearby people and things. It can automate conference room bookings for users just by them walking into a room. And after they enter, Robin can update the screens in the room and the nearby devices to give them control.
  • Reviews42, a community-based product reviews platform, has raised $5M in new funding led by Tiger Global Management with participation from Blume Ventures and Nirvana Venture Advisors. Reviews42 provides comparisons of products and prices from offline and online stores, and sees about 60% of traffic from its mobile apps. Founded in 2010 in New Delhi, Reviews42 plans to use the new funds to improve its product, increase hiring, and expand its presence across India.
  • Bonobos, New York-based fashion brand that started selling menswear direct-to-consumers online and is now expanding into physical “guide shops” where customers can try on the company’s clothes, has raised $55M in Series D funding led by Coppel Capital. Bonobos’s earlier investors Accel Partners, Felicis Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, Glynn Capital Management, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Mousse Partners and Nordstrom also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $127.6M.

EMEA

  • European MCN Mediakraft Networks has raised $23M (about 16.5M Euros) in a second round of financing led by Paris-based investment firm Iris Capital. The new funding will be used for the development of original online video content, as well as the expansion of the network’s creative team. Mediakraft said it will also look to extend its online video offering “through significant investments in its infrastructure.” Launched in 2011 as a German-language MCN, Mediakraft has since expanded to create and distribute online content for viewers in the Netherlands, Poland, and Turkey. The network spans more than 2,000 channels and 36M subscribers, with a daily reach of 1.5M uniques and a monthly reach of 350M views across YouTube, Yahoo, and ClipFish.
  • Jobandtalent, Hondón de los Frailes, Spain-based service that matches professionals with available job opportunities and sends them related alerts, has raised $14M in Series A funding from Qualitas Equity Partners, Kibo Ventures, FJME Ventures, Pelayo Cortina Koplowitz, and Nicolas Luca de Tena. The company has raised $18.7M altogether.
  • Google Ventures has launched a London division, with an initial fund of $100M to invest in “the best ideas from the best European entrepreneurs”. Partners include Google Europe executive Eze Vidra, entrepreneur Tom Hulme, angel investor Peter Read, Code.org UK head Avid Larizadeh, and current Google Ventures partner MG Siegler, who will reportedly remain in London temporarily to help his new colleagues get up and running.
  • Scytl is trying to modernize elections by killing the ballot box and moving the voting process online. SAP Ventures, a European based firm, just handed the startup another $20M to help the company expand. The software focuses on providing voter registration and voting services, as well as election night reporting. The company also offers election planning. The company was founded in 2001, so it’s not new, but it has been racking in the dough lately. In April Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s fund Vulcan Capital gave Scytl $40M. Currently the company works with governments and other organizations in 35 countries. Its headquarters are located in Barcelona, Spain.
  • Appek, creator of drawing social network French Girls, announced a $500,000 seed round led by actress-singer Christina Milian and American football player Larry English. The French Girls app first made its debut in January and was named in reference to the famous “draw me like one of your French girls” line from the film “Titanic”. The app enables users to turn selfies into hand-drawn portraits, and in exchange, tasks users to draw (or trace) selfies taken by strangers.
  • Zynstra, which offers ‘hybrid cloud’ solutions for small and medium sized enterprises, has raised a further $8.4M of funding in a Series B round led by previous backers Octopus Investments, with participation from other previous investors, including Richard Brennan, former EVP Global Marketing at Orange Group; Tom Vari, former CIO of Cable at Rogers Communications Inc.; and Jon Craton, Zynstra’s Chairman and former founder and CEO of Cramer. This brings the total amount raised to just over $14.4M. The U.K. startup plans to use the additional capital to further develop its range of “hybrid cloud” products, which are designed for SMEs as opposed to much larger enterprises, and expand its channel reach in the U.K., and then launch in the U.S. towards the end of this year.
  • Index Ventures has led a $7M Series A round in Credit Benchmark, a startup that’s looking to improve financial market benchmarks by aggregating anonymized credit risk data from multiple banks. The aim is to improve industry transparency around credit risk and create more precise and up-to-date consensus views by aggregating the internal assessments of large banks on their institutional borrowers’ credit worthiness.
  • Berlin-based mobile games marketing platform AppLift has invested a “7-digit” sum in Berlin-based startup PubNative. As its name suggests, PubNative is a native advertising platform that doesn’t require developers to integrate an SDK. Instead the supply-side platform is API-based, through client-side and a server-to-server integration.
  • FishBrain, a made-in-Sweden mobile app and social network for anglers founded back in 2010, has closed a $2.4M pre-Series A round of funding, led by Northzone and Active Venture Partners. Other investors in this round are GP Bullhound and Edastra Venture Capital, as well as existing investors Mathias Ackermand, Rikard Steiber and ALMI. FishBrain had raised some $1.5M, reeling in investors, including Industrifonden; Umando; Henrik Torstensson, CEO of Lifesum; and Mattias Miksche, founder and CEO of Stardoll. FishBrain has some 430,000 registered users, a little under half of whom are active. There have been some 130,000 logged catches within the app so far.
  • Traity, a two-year-old, Madrid and San Francisco-based online reputation startup, has raised $4.7M in Series A funding led by Active Venture Partners. Other investors in the round included Horizons Ventures, KRW Schindler Private Ventures, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, Lanta Digital Ventures, 500 Startups, Lisa Gansky, Juan Lopez, Matthew Bothner and Dalibor Siroky.
  • SpaceWays, London-based self-storage business, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from the German startup backer Rocket Internet, which hired the founders to create the service, reports Reuters. SpaceWays, which launched in London last week, it reportedly “looking to transform the self-storage market into an on-demand business more like package delivery.”
  • Hansoft, a nine-year-old, Uppsala, Sweden-based company that makes project management and and collaboration software, has raised $10M in Series A funding from Hasso Plattner Ventures and the Nordic venture capital firm Creandum.
  • Berlin-based startup ParkTag, a parking-space-swapping community with iOS and Android apps that let users report when they’re about to vacate an on-street parking spot to other users of the app who can then swoop in and bag the space, raised a seed investment of €500,000 ($680,000) from German’s High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTG), a semi-governmental VC fund whose investors include the Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology, the KfW Bank group, and six industrial groups: BASF, Deutsche Telekom, Siemens, Robert Bosch, Daimler and Carl Zeiss. In addition to the €500,000 seed, HTG’s investment also includes €1.2M reserved for a follow-on Series A round, which is the fund’s typical investment structure.

Asia

  • 24tidy, a 24-hour O2O laundry site, raised tens ofMs yuan in Series A financing led by SIP Oriza Seed Fund Management, an early-stage investment platform under Oriza Holdings. SIP Oriza is also the baker of online travel platform LY.com and logistics service SF Express. Launched in June last year, 24tidy allows users to schedule pickup and dropoff of laundry and dry cleaning stuffs by placing orders via telephone or on Internet. After one year of development, the startup now has around 10 warehouses and more than 30 deliverymen in Shanghai. The company plans to expand to Beijing, Nanjing, as well as other cities in Jiangsu Province after receiving Series A funding.
  • Bangalore-based transportation network company Olacabs raised INR 250 crores (about US$40M) from Sequoia Capital and Hong Kong’s Steadview Capital. This follows a US$20M round that the company closed last November. The company had previously raised a $20M Series B round from Tiger Global and Matrix Partners last year. That followed an initial $5M Series A round from Tiger in 2012.
  • White-label cloud service Cloudike secured US$950,000 for a 20% stake from three Korean VCs to extend their capabilities, particularly in global sales. Bon Angels, a renowned Korean early stage investor, led the seed round and will take a board seat, with Coolidge Corner Investment and newly formed The Ventures participating. The financial boost will be used to strengthen sales and build additional distribution channels globally. The developer team also plans to extend their personal cloud service to business users.
  • Last-minute hotel booking app HotelQuickly — whose founding team includes two ex-Rocket Internet executives — has raised a further $4.5M in funding as it doubles-down on the Asia-Pacific market — and, perhaps in the longer-term, keep San Francisco-based and heavily-funded HotelTonight at bay when and if it enters the region.
  • Vizury, a 5.5-year-old, Seoul, Korea-based digital marketing company that focuses on the online travel industry, has raised $16M in Series C funding led by Intel Capital. Ascent Capital also participated in the round, along with earlier investors Nokia Growth Partners and Inventus Capital Partners.
  • Universal Education Group, Beijing-based Chinese company that trains students for their postgraduate entrance exams, civil servant recruitment examinations, and more, has raised “tens ofMs” of dollars in Series C funding from search engine giant Baidu, reports China Money Network. The company had previously raised $40M over two rounds, says the outlet, including from Sequoia Capital, Legend Capital, DCM, and the Singaporean private equity group F&H Fund Management.
  • Jianshu, (meaning “simple book”), a new, China-based writing and blogging platform that’s been compared to Medium, has raised $806,000 in seed funding from undisclosed angel investors.
  • Grabhouse, a 16-month-old, Mumbai, India-based startup that helps people find roommates and apartments for rent, has raised $500,000 from earlier investor India Quotient.
  • MyRepublic’s, Singapore-based telco startup, raised $24M investments from two new major stakeholders based in India and France respectively. Sunshine Network, a telecommunications arm of Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas, has invested over S$20M (US$16M), while Xavier Niel, founder of French telecommunications company Free, put in S$10M (US$8M).
  • TranServ, a four-year-old, Mumbai, India-based prepaid payments company, has raised an undisclosed amount in Series B round led by Faering Capital, with earlier investor Nirvana Venture Advisors also participating.
  • Pokkt, Mumbai-based alternative mobile payment platform that helps app developers and publishers monetize their users through advertising, has raised $2.5M in Series A funding led by Jafco Asia and SingTel Innov8, with participation from earlier investors, including Jungle Ventures and serial entrepreneur K Ganesh. Pokkt had previously raised $500,000.
  • Japanese VC firm Global Brain announced its investment in Korean startup Mbite which runs Rainbow.dot, a platform that matches illustrators to game developers and businesses. With the investment, Jiro Kumakura, partner at Global Brain, will join Mbite’s board of directors.
  • Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, Mumbai, India-based aggregator, developer, publisher and distributor of Bollywood and South-Asian entertainment content, has raised $40M in new funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Earlier investor Intel Capital, which poured an undisclosed amount of funding into the company in 2012, also participated in this round.
  • HiWiFi, Beijing-based maker of “smart” routers, has raised $10M in Series B funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and the Taiwanese semiconductor maker MTK. The company had previously received “tens ofMs” of dollars in Series A funding from GGV Capital and Innovation Works.
  • FXiaoKe, a three-year-old, Beijing, China-based mobile sales management tool, has raised $10M in Series B funding led by Northern Light Venture Capital, with firms Huaruan Venture Capital, Boya Capital, and IDG Capital participating. FXiaoke previously received “severalM dollars” in Series A funding from IDG Capital in July 2012.
  • Chinese search engine Baidu made investment of “millions of dollars” into cloud learning portal Wanxue. Shortly after receiving its series C round of funding, Wanxue moved to a new domain name under Baidu’s existing education portal: wanxue.jiaoyu.baidu.com. Wanxue specializes in prep courses for post-graduate entrance exams and civil service exams, which it offers in 25 provinces, regions, and municipalities across China. It has 535 professors on its network. The company received US$20M in its previous round from DCM, Sequoia Capital, Lenovo, and Phoenix in 2011. In 2008, it also received US$20M from Sequoia Capital and Lenovo.
  • Lmbang (spice moms in Chinese), a Shenzhen-based mommy communication website, announced US$20M of Series B financing led by Greenwoods Asset Management with participation of Morningside Ventures, VIP.com, Matrix Partners and K2 Ventures. The company has receivedMs of dollars in Series A financing last year. Double-sigma Investment Management worked as financing consultant for this round. Launched in May 2012, Lmbang is a mobile social platform for women where mothers can share and exchange tips on various topics of child rearing, slimming, beauty makeup, emotion, delicacy, sexual health, etc. The platform has more than 20M registered users with around 2.6M daily active users and a monthly retention rate of 60%, according to Jin Zan, CEO of the company. He added that most of their users are moms who are born in 1980s and 1990s, and over 90% of the users aged between 25 to 30.

Other emerging markets

  • Webydo, Tel Aviv, Israel-based SaaS platform that helps designers create and manage cross-platform business websites without writing code, has raised $7M in funding led by OurCrowd. A Magna Ventures affiliate from Spain and private investors also participated in the round, which brings the company’s total funding to $8.4M.
  • GetYou, Israel-based company whose app helps people see how well other people “get” them, has raised $1.1M in seed funding from the VC RDSeed and angel investors, including Wix founder Avishai Abrahami.
  • Linio, an Amazon-style e-commerce marketplace active in Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Peru, has raised an additional $79M (€58M), led by new investor Northgate Capital and Access Industries. The company says the financing will be used to expand its footprint to other large Latin American markets like Chile and beyond. This latest round brings the total raised by Linio, founded in 2012, up to well over $150M — including a $50M round in November 2013; $26.5M in February 2013; and up to another $26.5M in that same month.

Mergers & Acquisitions
US

  • Yahoo has acquired mobile video streaming firm RayV to bolster its Cloud Platforms and Services team. While RayV has been fairly quiet about its technology, the company’s product is a “full end-to-end solution that enables improved high quality streaming for our online and mobile video content partners.” Yahoo intends to use RayV to strengthen its existing video infrastructure. Yahoo has been pouring resources into its Yahoo Screen online video efforts with a focus on offering exclusive content. The company recently agreed to bring back the cult show Community for a sixth season.
  • Microsoft has acquired InMage, a business continuity service that helps enterprises migrate their data between public and private clouds, replicate their on-premise assets in the cloud and recover their data in case things go awry. The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.
  • RelateIQ, Palo Alto, Ca.-based relationship intelligence platform that allows teams to track, share and analyze professional relationships, has been acquired by Salesforce for roughly $350M. RelateIQ had raised roughly $70M from Morgenthaler Ventures, Accel Partners, SV Angel, Stage One Capital, Battery Ventures, Formation 8, Accel Partners, AITV, Redpoint Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Felicis Ventures, and News Corp.
  • GoDaddy has acquired a smart calendaring service called Canary. The deal for Canary is more of an acqui-hire, than acquisition, as GoDaddy has no intentions of bringing the Canary application into its current product lineup.
  • Neebula, a four-year-old, New York-based software company whose products automate the discovery, mapping and monitoring of IT-enabled enterprise services, has been acquired by publicly traded ServiceNow for $100M. The company, which was founded in Israel, had raised an undisclosed amount of money from Genesis Partners and Pitgano Venture Capital.
  • TwinStrata, a seven-year-old, Natick, Ma.-based maker of cloud gateway appliances, has been acquired by EMC Corp. for an undisclosed amount. TwinStrata had raised $19.4M over the years, shows Crunchbase. Avalon Ventures is among its backers.
  • RakNet, a Costa Mesa, Ca.-based company behind a game networking engine, has been acquired by Oculus VR for an undisclosed amount. Oculus VR, which acquired Carbon Design Group just a few weeks ago, was acquired by Facebook in March for $2 billion.

EMEA

  • Rightster, the U.K. video distribution and monetisation company, acquired Viral Spiral, which specialises in social video management, licensing and brand engagement and Base79, one of the largest YouTube partners outside North America. The acquisition of Base79 is for a price up to £50M in shares. The acquisition of outstanding shares in Viral Spiral is for £4.1M in cash and shares. To achieve the above it’s announced the placing of 75M new ordinary shares in order to raise £42M at a price of 56 pence per share. The acquisitions would make Rightster the fourth-biggest YouTube MCN by audience in North America and the largest outside North America.

Asia

  • OTA Expedia acquired Australia-based Wotif Group (ASX:WTF) for A$703M (US$659.5M). It runs a number of travel sites in the region, such as Wotif.com, Lastminute.com.au, Travel.com.au, LateStays, and GoDo.com.au. The deal effectively buys the group for A$3.30 per share. Wotif’s shares rose in Monday trading after the announcement from Expedia and now stand at A$3.29. That’s down from a peak of A$7.69 per share in April 2010. Wotif’s sites recorded A$593M (US$555.5M) in gross bookings (total transaction value) and A$76M (US$71.2M) in revenue in the second half of 2013. Users booked 3.2M room nights in that period.

Other emerging markets

  • Science Inc, the startup studio, has acquired an eight-person company based in Yerevan, Armenia called Inlight. That company developed the iOS app of the same name, a social newsreading service targeting women.

 

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Posted on July 14, 2014, in Internet weekly update. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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